Trinity Researchers Aim to Make Ageing a Positive Experience in Ireland

Posted on: 08 December 2005

Major National Study Launched

An estimated €10 million landmark national study of 7,000 individuals which will result in comprehensive and accurate information about the characteristics, contributions and needs of older people in Ireland was announced today (Thursday 8 December).

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, initiated by the newly established Trinity Consortium on Ageing, aims to drive reform of the health and social services for the next 20 years to enable successful ageing, influence perceptions of ageing, commission and provide best models of care for older Irish citizens now and for future generations.

“It is imperative that such a nationally representative study be carried out in Ireland in the light of our relatively poor life expectancy, high mortality rates for heart diseases, stroke, lung diseases, and wide-spread relative income poverty among the older population,” explained Prof Rose-Anne Kenny, Professor of Geriatric Medicine, TCD and Director of the new Centre for Ageing at St. James’s Hospital, who is heading up the research project.

“To develop an environment for successful ageing in Ireland, we require fundamental information on the health, wealth and happiness of people aged 55 and over living in this country. Such data has been lacking to date and this study will rectify the situation. By collecting accurate socio-economic, health and personal data we will inform strategic policies which will change and greatly enhance the ageing experience of Irish people today and in the future”.

Trinity College Dublin will be conducting this 10-year research project with partners in other Irish universities, Institutes of Technology, voluntary organizations and hospitals.

A further endeavour the Ageing Consortium hopes to implement in the future is The Oisín Project, which would educate all TCD students on ageing by offering a module in Aging Studies to each student. Spearheaded by Dr Des O’Neill, Associate Professor of Gerontology at the Trinity Centre, St James’s Hospital, this project would make TCD the first university in the world to produce graduates with an understanding of the issues of an ageing society.

The Trinity Consortium on Ageing is a research consortium representing over 40 leading researchers from across the college in fields as diverse as Engineering, English, Neuroscience, Physiotherapy, Geriatric Medicine and Economics. Its aim is to add new dimensions to the international research agenda on ageing by pursuing interdisciplinary research between social policy and the humanities one hand and science and technology on the other. The Consortium was launched by the Provost of Trinity College, Dr John Hegarty today.